If you had $1500 US to spend

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My son-in-law will be looking for a car soon. His budget is $1500, a gift from his parents. I am an experienced DIYer, but I don't want to spend all
my time chasing problems and want to avoid problems that can't be fixed with wrecking yard parts. Any recommendatons?
Mike
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Stay away from early escorts. Interference motor, pistons hit valves when the timing belt breaks , not sure what years though. And i've been told contours are nothing but money pits at high mileage. I had a 2.3 mustang for my first car and it was easy to work on, tons around the scrapyards for cheap parts. I would avoid the 3.8 cfi mustangs though, my 86 never got better than 12 on the highway with a 3 speed auto and a 2.73 rear. It always ran rich and I never could figure it out (even with the ford shop books and a breakout box) . Beware of cheap lincolns too, all the electric doo dads can get to be a real pain when they get old. My current car is a 89 mk 7 and I've gotten to know the evtm pretty well.
Good luck,
John
Michael Pardee wrote:

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jjj wrote:

You're right about COntours being money pits :(
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Michael Pardee wrote:

Maybe there's a used crown vic waiting somewhere with your son's name on it.
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I would spend it on an Apple Mac. But I think you mean a car.
Older Ford Tauri may be good. Or a Contour. I have had very few problems with my contour.
Another option is a certificate of deposit. Put the money in the bank for say two years, take the bus or keep the old car going, and with the savings, buy a new car in a few years. Where I live, I take the bus or train. Not everyone has that option.
Jeff
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Hopefully your time on that car will be spent teaching not doing it for him.
Value for money...
A higher mileage well maintained, 95 up, 3.8L Tbird. One where the headgaskets have been replaced. Great road car, cheap parts.. good mileage
You didnt mention WHAT kind of car... if a family car, look for a 95 Taurus GL 3.0L, with AX4N (may be stamped SHO on pan) trans. Bet there's some geezers finally getting rid of their well maintained 100 K mile cars... and there's another 100k in it.
Easy to work on, a few quirks, like weak window motors but easy to fix
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you pay..DEAL with it!
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Best car I found for reliability, safety and ability to work on without sophistocated testing gear were non turbo 240 Volvos. I can post this because Ford now owns volvo. You should be able to find one for $1500. Red block 4 cylinders go forever, come with sticks. The best IMO are 1987-1990 sedans and wagons. Biodegradable wiring had been replaced and they had not gotten too complicated. If you want ABS and airbag need to to the later models or 700 series. Those probably will run a little more than $1500. Just my opinion. My kids had them and they were great, economical DIY cars. Howard
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Michael Pardee wrote:

mileage...do get one new enough to be fuel injected with a 4 cyl.........
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Michael Pardee wrote:

with a little bulk to back it up. (Mustang GT in a tuxedo) Mustang GT driveline with ABS and a rev limiter to hold it back a bit. $30K+ when new, $1500 all over now with ~100K+ miles. $450 for complete air suspension replacement, $50 for probable EATC repair, and son in law (and daughter??) will have a larger car, with ABS, SRS, good performance, and decent fuel mileage (20-28)that can last, with normal maintenance, up to 300K miles.
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Michael Pardee wrote:

If i had only 1500, i wouldn't get a ford, thats for sure. i'd get a Honda Accord, or a Honda Civic 92-95, or a toyota corolla. i picked up 2000 corolla 5spd 4cylynder 242KMS on it for $2k for my brother.
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Ya I'd be looking at one of those cheap hondas that seem to not break. You can get a late 90's Taurus for 15 but it probably wouldnt be a good idea.

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Max Power wrote:

nope, i would steer clear. unless you can find a crown vic perhaps they seem to be reliable old cars. I wouldn't consider an old taurus.
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I appreciate the info. My #2 son had an early Taurus that hadn't been maintained, and that was a nightmare. I don't know what they are like otherwise. I have only replaced alternator/regulator/battery (neither the alternator nor the battery liked the regulator telling it to charge full bore all the time) on a friend's Taurus. At least the parts were inexpensive and easy to access.
And the Contour is off my list, based on other advice. Crown Vics are on the list.
Mike
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On Sun, 10 Dec 2006 08:32:01 -0700, "Michael Pardee"

repair, and reasonable to buy. You can likely find one that's not real pretty for $1500 that will still go for quite a while.
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<clare at snyder.on.ca> wrote in message

I didn't know that! Friends and family had some bad experiences with earlier Escorts, including an engine failure in a very early one (apparently Ford had an unadvertised warranty program for that) and a friend had one with a water pump that seized after the warranty had run out but the payments had not. Her husband-to-be said there were pieces of valve seats embedded in the pistons.
Do you know when the big change occurred?
Mike
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Michael Pardee wrote:

Could maybe add the escorts to your list. THey are a fairly reliable car, and seem to last well, the rust gets them though. i'm talking late escorts, 97-99. you should get one of them fairly cheap with around 160k mi on it. I _would_ get a 5 speed, (but what automatic doesn't have transmission issues). Seems like after 160k mi, i prefer manuals
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My one grandson bought one of those cheap Hondas. He thought that they don't breakdown. He was wrong as well. In less than a year he has spend more than he paid for the car, to keep it running. ;)
mike

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Mike Hunter wrote:

I used to own a 1982 Prelude... rusty & unreliable, underpowered, *imaginative* engineering (CVCC Engine & 2-speed Hondamatic tranny)... compared to my 5-speed 1979 Celica GT Coupe, it was a total POS. I won't even compare that *thing* to my 351 '79 Tbird, or my current 1999 Grand Marquis LS...
Could be worse, could be a Contour :)
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The 'Ludes don't have a sparkling reputation, even among Honda enthusiasts. I like the "imaginative" engineering observation!
Mike
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Buy her a pass to ride your local public transportation system, WBMA
mike

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